There is a handful of diamonds that are legendary and known to people that aren’t involved in the diamond industry. One of those well-known precious stones is the Koh-I-Noor diamond.
Are you wondering where Koh-I-Noor diamond is now?
The answer to this question might seem simple, but like everything else with history – this one has quite a story behind it.
Given previous experience, it’s safe to say that a diamond as legendary as this one pops up every couple of hundred years. That’s what makes them so magnificent!
Keeping this in mind, we have decided to tell you the story of the Koh-I-Noor diamond – where that diamond is right now and is there a chance of that diamond ever moving somewhere else.
Without any further ado, let’s jump straight into this article and teach you all about this fantastic diamond!
Koh-I-Noor Diamond – What Is It And Where It Comes From
Being one of the most famous diamonds in the world – and, dare we say, in human history – we wouldn’t be surprised if some of you already knew where the Koh-I-Noor diamond comes from, or at least what it is.
But, we also know that there are people that aren’t that informed about the diamond world and don’t know these things.
So, let’s start from the beginning – and work our way up from there.
Koh-I-Noor diamond is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats – or 21.12 grams, depending on who you ask.
We know that you probably don’t have an exact idea of how big and how rare that amount is, but we can tell you one thing with absolute certainty: That is quite a massive diamond.
Now, this diamond is special for a few reasons. First, it’s one of the largest gems in the world, period. But in addition to that, it went through the diamond cutting process, making it one of the largest cut diamonds in the world.
Don’t get us wrong; it’s still nowhere near the Cullinan diamond.
But let’s face the facts here: There is only one Cullinan diamond. The rest of the gems on the list of the biggest diamonds in the world have an enormous gap between them and the famous Cullinan when it comes to size. And yes, that even applies to the Koh-I-Noor.
It comes from the Golconda Fort, where it was discovered between the years 1100 and 1300 in southern India.
That piece of information alone makes this diamond special – even if we forget all of the physical characteristics of this diamond.
Now, the Koh-I-Noor diamond is part of the British Crown Jewels.
“How so?” some of you may ask. Well, don’t forget how long India was a part of the United Kingdom.
The history of this diamond is quite extensive, and we’ve decided to dedicate a whole segment of this article to its long and eventful history. So, we don’t want to give away too much too soon.
And since we’re already talking about the history of this legendary diamond, let’s see what this gem went through from the moment it was found.
The Full History Of The Koh-I-Noor Diamond
Like with all legendary and well-known things in this world, the Koh-I-Noor diamond has a rich history that is a must-know in the world of diamonds.
So, if some of you still need knowledge from this part of the Koh-I-Noor story, let’s jump straight into it and see what this diamond hides in its cuts.
Babur, the Turco-Mongol founder of the Mughal Empire, wrote about a “famous diamond” that weighed just over 187 old carats, or approximately the size of the 186-carat Koh-i-Noor.
Some people say that Babur’s diamond is the earliest reliable reference to the Koh-i-Noor.
According to his diary, it was acquired by Alauddin Khalji, the second ruler of the Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, when he invaded the kingdoms of southern India at the beginning of the 14th century and was probably in possession of the Kakatiya dynasty.
It later passed to the succeeding dynasties of the Sultanate – until, finally, Babur received the diamond in 1526 as a tribute for his conquest of Delhi and Agra at the Battle of Panipat.
The fifth Mughal emperor had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne.
In 1658, his son Aurangzeb confined the ailing emperor to Agra Fort.
While it was in possession of Aurangzeb, it was allegedly cut by Hortense Borgia, reducing the weight of the large gemstone to 186 carats.
Don’t worry; Borgia was reprimanded and fined 10,000 rupees for this carelessness.
Following the 1739 invasion of Delhi by Nadir Shah, the Afsharid Shah of Persia, the treasury of the Mughal Empire was looted by his army in an organized and all-out acquisition of the Mughal nobility’s wealth.
Along with millions of rupees and an assortment of historic jewels, the Shah also carried away the Koh-i-Noor. He exclaimed “Koh-i-Noor!” – a Persian and Hindi-Urdu word meaning “Mountain Of Light” – when he obtained the famous stone.
After Nadir Shah was killed and his empire collapsed in 1747, the Koh-i-Noor diamond fell to his grandson in 1751, who gave it to Ahmad Shah Durrani in return for his support.
One of Ahmed’s grandsons reportedly wore a bracelet embedded with the famous Koh-i-Noor on the occasion of Mountstuart Elphinstone’s visit to Peshawar in 1808.
Only a year later, Shuja formed an alliance with the United Kingdom to help defend against the possible invasion of Afghanistan by Russia.
He was quickly overthrown but fled with the diamond to Lahore, where Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire, in return for his hospitality, insisted upon the gem being given to him – and he took possession of it in 1813.
On 29 March 1849, the Kingdom of Punjab was formally annexed to Company rule. The Last Treaty of Lahore was signed, officially surrendering the Koh-i-Noor to Queen Victoria and the Maharaja’s other assets to the company.
Article III of the treaty read:
“The gem called the Koh-i-Noor, which was taken from Shah Sooja-ool-Moolk by Maharajah Ranjeet Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.”
Although some thought it should’ve been presented as a gift to Queen Victoria by the East India Company, it is clear that Dalhousie believed the stone was a spoil of war and treated it as such, ensuring that it was officially surrendered to the Queen by Duleep Singh, the youngest son of Ranjit Singh.
The presentation of the Koh-i-Noor by the East India Company to the Queen was the latest in a pretty long history of transfers of the diamond as a coveted spoil of war.
As you can see, the history of this diamond is quite vast, and there is a lot to cover. But trust us when we say – it’s worth knowing.
Why Is Koh-I-Noor In England?
If the diamond is officially Indian – and always has been – why is the Koh-I-Noor in possession of the United Kingdom today?
Well, if the historical aspect of this famous diamond’s origin didn’t clarify that, let’s jump into a more straightforward explanation.
The Koh-I-Noor diamond is part of the British Crown Jewels and has been for quite some time.
The diamond became a unique possession of Queen Victoria. It was displayed in 1851 at the Great Exposition in London just to be critiqued by the British public due to how simple it was.
“Many people find a difficulty in bringing themselves to believe, from its external appearance, that it is anything but a piece of common glass,” wrote The Times in June 1851.
Given its disappointing reception, Queen Victoria’s husband had the stone recut and polished. This process reduced its size by half but made the light refract more brilliantly from its surface.
While Victoria wore the diamond as a brooch, it eventually became part of the Crown Jewels – first in the crown of Queen Alexandra and then in the crown of Queen Mary.
That pretty much sums up all the historical events that led to the Koh-I-Noor becoming a part of the British Crown Jewels.
The political reasons behind it ending up in British hands are pretty obvious. The undertone of all events closely related to this diamond made it so that some people dislike the story behind Koh-I-Noor to this day.
Although the diamond itself isn’t considered to bring bad luck or in any way controversial, some people in Britain – and all around the world – don’t think nicely about the Koh-I-Noor.
The Koh-I-Noor And The Hope Diamond
Koh-I-Noor wasn’t the only diamond found in the Golconda Fort. The diamond now named Hope was also discovered there. This precious stone weighs 45.52 carats and is a Type IIb dark blue diamond, in case you were wondering.
The Hope Diamond’s history begins with Frenchman Jean Baptiste Tavernier buying a 112-carat diamond.
Having a crude cut and being triangular, the gem’s beauty was more than evident – even at that time. Tavernier himself described the stone’s color as a “beautiful violet.”
Later on, the Hope Diamond obtained a status of royalty when it was sold to King Louis XIV of France. King Louis’s court jeweler named Sieur Pitau re-cut the stone in 1673, reducing its carat weight to 67 carats.
It’s a shame listening about all of these legendary precious stones being cut – and then re-cut – only to be reshaped. It seems like they handled it without a care in the world. And yet, when a jeweler cuts a part of a diamond, that amount that they took off can never be brought back.
That’s the sad part about the stories similar to the ones of Koh-I-Noor and Hope Diamond. Unfortunately, you’ll run into similar stories throughout the diamond industry.
But, we have to be happy to live in a time where these diamonds are available for the naked eye to see in all their glory.
The fact that they aren’t the size they once were doesn’t mean that that lowers their status in the world of diamonds, though. The Hope diamond isn’t any less famous or breathtaking because it weighs less – and the same goes for the Koh-I-Noor.
Where Kohinoor Diamond Is Now?
When talking about something as famous and well-known as the Koh-I-Noor diamond, you have to be careful not to leave something out on accident. A rich history with a strong message in today’s world is what makes this diamond as unique as it is.
Currently – and it seems that that will stay like that for a long time – the Koh-I-Noor’s a part of the British Crown Jewels. Its previous owners are vast and intricate to list correctly, but that’s what’s so fascinating about this diamond.
The sheer size of Koh-I-Noor isn’t the only thing that makes it unique, and even if this diamond becomes a 1-carat diamond – the sheer size of the legend behind it stays the same.
So, there you have it. Now you’re in on – and, therefore, a part – of one of the most fascinating and well-known stories about diamonds ever told. Amazing, right?